From 2011 to 2018, I was on a quest to run the official marathon races in the capital cities of all EU member states.
At the time, I maintained a website for it and wrote reports about all the 28 races. Now, 5 years after the conclusion of the project, it feels like the new home of it should be right here, at teesche.com.
There’s a lot of information about all those hugely diverse countries of Europe in these reports. And my own journey from 5 to 3:30 hour marathoner as well as the growth of my family from two to six people over the seven years might be interesting, too.
Update February 2020: I added a 29th one to it, since it finally became available this year: Nicosia, Cyprus!
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28th of October, 2018
Number 28 of 28. Brussels Marathon was the perfect victory lap and a celebratory weekend for my wife, me, and our now four daughters.
15th of October, 2017
What a marathon this was! Almost nothing was worth of criticism. Top organization, great weather. But after 30 km it’s a fight everywhere.
8th of October, 2017
Zagreb is pretty, but the fast two-lap out and back course was rather boring. The cheerful folks made up for it and it’s been a lot of fun.
30th of October, 2016
The Irish are known to be warm people, the country to be green. All was true. And I got emotional during the race for an unpredicted reason.
9th of October, 2016
An EU member since 2007, Bulgaria and its capital have improved a lot because of it. Sofia was cold but sunny, and my finishing time fast.
11th of September, 2016
Before the trip I knew almost nothing about the city, but of the three Baltics and the whole EU, it positively surprised me the most.
8th of May, 2016
With three kids now and my inlaws, we took a family weekend trip to Prague. It’s been a sunny and great race although I was battling a cold.
3rd of April, 2016
Europe’s largest marathon. The course included the biggest sights, such as Champs-Élysées, Notre-Dame, Arc de Triomphe, and Eiffel Tower.
6th of March, 2016
Some Cypriot sun during Hamburg’s cold March was appreciated, as well as the ancient and mysterious history of the Mediterranean island.
13th of September, 2015
Three weeks after my first full distance IRONMAN race I went to Estonia and was taken by the pretty city and easy course along the Baltic.
30th of May, 2015
We took the extended family with us to beautiful Sweden. The conditions were harsh but the race still got my endorphins moving.
26th of April, 2015
London, my 2nd World Marathon Major run after Berlin, and a difficult one to get into. The city is obviously amazing, but did the race deliver?
29th of March, 2015
One of the newer countries. A cold day on a two-lap course. It’s been a good weekend, especially since some friends came with us.
22nd of February, 2015
Malta is full of history and it seems every major nation in the vicinity once took hold of it. This produced a culture with lots of variety.
26th of October, 2014
Hard to spell, even harder to pinpoint on a map: Ljubljana. The city surprised us with a beautiful old town and a flat and fast course.
28th of September, 2014
Although it’s our neighbor, I don’t think I’ve been to Poland before. Warsaw was showing itself from its best side and people were loveable.
16th of August, 2014
The northernmost race of the 28, but since it’s in August, it wasn’t cold. The afternoon start challenged me, but the course was pretty.
18th of May, 2014
One of the lesser known capitals of Europe. We were pleasently surprised by the green beauty of the city and friendliness of its inhabitants.
13th of April, 2014
Vienna usually resides on top of the world’s most livable cities. This marathon was nicely planned and not too difficult to run.
23rd of March, 2014
The eternal city of Rome is a great place to run. The cobblestone streets are challenging, but the buildings and atmosphere stand out.
10th of November, 2013
The classic marathon leading from the city of Marathon to Athens. The historical setting made it special, but I had some difficulties.
13th of October, 2013
I went here on my own and got to enjoy a beautiful city built around the great Danube river while seeing lots of men wearing mustaches.
29th of September, 2013
Berlin is one of just 6 World Marathon Majors and place of many world records. Can I run a personal best here in my home country as well?
8th of June, 2013
This tiny country in Europe’s center holds its marathon at night. A 7:00 PM start is tough, but running half of it with Jürgen helped.
28th of April, 2013
The passion of the Spaniards made this a wonderful and special race, showing off lots of sights as well as the green Casa de Campo park.
9th of December, 2012
This race required leg power for some hills. Lisbon is a pretty city with a lot to see and delicious food, too. Small race, friendly folks.
20th of May, 2012
The first marathon race I ran as a dad. A few friends accompanied us to the race, which the Danish prepared perfectly. Wonderful course.
16th of October, 2011
Together with two friends I ran this marathon race in the flat and friendly Netherlands. Unbeknownst to me, it set it all in motion.
|1||Amsterdam||NetherlandsNL||16th of Oct, 2011||04:36:51|
|2||Copenhagen||DenmarkDK||20th of May, 2012||04:25:42|
|3||Lisbon||PortugalPT||09th of Dec, 2012||04:23:31|
|4||Madrid||SpainES||28th of Apr, 2013||04:19:42|
|5||Luxembourg||LuxembourgLU||08th of Jun, 2013||04:22:10|
|6||Berlin||GermanyDE||29th of Sep, 2013||04:17:02|
|7||Budapest||HungaryHU||13th of Oct, 2013||04:10:01|
|8||Athens||GreeceGR||10th of Nov, 2013||04:50:53|
|9||Rome||ItalyIT||23rd of Mar, 2014||04:18:55|
|10||Vienna||AustriaAT||13th of Apr, 2014||04:14:57|
|11||Riga||LatviaLV||18th of May, 2014||04:08:40|
|12||Helsinki||FinlandFI||16th of Aug, 2014||04:57:01|
|13||Warsaw||PolandPL||28th of Sep, 2014||03:59:22|
|14||Ljubljana||SloveniaSI||26th of Oct, 2014||03:53:46|
|15||Malta||MaltaMT||22nd of Feb, 2015||03:53:38|
|16||Bratislava||SlovakiaSK||29th of Mar, 2015||03:59:48|
|17||London||United KingdomGB||26th of Apr, 2015||04:00:48|
|18||Stockholm||SwedenSE||30th of May, 2015||03:45:28|
|19||Tallinn||EstoniaEE||13th of Sep, 2015||03:40:47|
|20||Cyprus||CyprusCY||06th of Mar, 2016||03:47:08|
|21||Paris||FranceFR||03rd of Apr, 2016||03:51:57|
|22||Prague||Czech RepublicCZ||08th of May, 2016||03:55:33|
|23||Vilnius||LithuaniaLT||11th of Sep, 2016||03:43:46|
|24||Sofia||BulgariaBG||09th of Oct, 2016||03:31:58|
|25||Dublin||IrelandIE||30th of Oct, 2016||03:37:20|
|26||Zagreb||CroatiaHR||08th of Oct, 2017||03:50:08|
|27||Bucharest||RomaniaRO||15th of Oct, 2017||03:57:34|
|28||Brussels||BelgiumBE||28th of Oct, 2018||03:51:50|
Note: I wrote this a couple of years into the challenge, which was around 2013/2014.
My own personal reason is quite simple. Because it is possible!
After a very unmotivated phase of my life I began to think about creating a kind of bucket list of things that I want to experience in my life. The result was a long document that grows a lot faster than I can cross off items. The list is more than 20 items strong.
Some goals can easily be accomplished via the popular strategy of using money, like for example doing a long vacation in the South Pacific or a biking tour along the Way of St. James. Others are relatively intense like crossing the English Channel swimming or completing an Ironman distance triathlon.
Update 2022: I have done some of them and now publicly keep track here.
For some reason, many items on my list are of athletic nature, although I wouldn’t call myself an athletic person. After a childhood of experiments with tennis and field hockey my athletic career was kept down by my huge laziness. Eventually, during university, I tried some outdoor running and that stuck with me. When I entered adulthood by having a real job in a real office, the urge to go running in my free time grew even more. I did around 30 kilometers per week and at some point I found myself registered for the Hamburg marathon, together with my co-worker Kristian.
That was the end of my laziness. What followed was a biking tour from Hamburg to Athens, Greece (about 1,200 kilometers in three weeks, including crossing the Alps from Munich to Venice), my first Olympic distance triathlon in Hamburg (1.5 kilometers swimming, 40 kilometers biking, and 10 kilometers of running), as well as lots of halfmarathons and 10k’s in Hamburg and the vicinity with improving results.
It became clear to me that running will stay with me for a long time. I consider it being a very elegant sport, because:
In 2010 I finished my first ever full marathon in Hamburg, just to experience what it’s like. After 25 years without a real sport I was prepared in a disastrous and naïve way and I finished in 4:51:30. It was one of the best moments of my life.
I remember it like it was yesterday how I wobbled for the last eight kilometers, half walking and half trying to jog, always thinking about quitting but still fighting. At kilometer 41 my then-girlfriend Sophie (now she is my wife) jumped out of the crowd onto the course and ran along with me until shortly before the finish line where she was taken out of the race by the security guards.
That gave me enough energy to run for the last few hundred meters to the finish, my head held back because my neck muscles were so sore, my body leaning forward and my mind completely focused on not falling down and instead putting one foot in front of the other one, until finally I heard the beeping sound of the chip tracking machines and the clicking of the photographers that confirmed I finished the race.
A nice lady handed me my medal and there I was, with my victory against myself. I cried a few tears of joy. My feet felt long and flat and were full of sore spots and blisters. I got a black toenail. My whole body was aching and there wasn’t one muscle that didn’t feel sore. I was very hungry, tired, but extremely happy. My sister picked me up and drove me home.
The first thing I did back home was google more marathons.
But I did not just want to run any random marathons, I prefered to have a concept behind it. I just found out how happy it makes me to have a huge goal and fight real hard until I finally manage to reach that goal, so naturally I wanted to set new and bigger goals immediately. I got the idea of running a marathon in every EU capital for no particular reason except that I love Europe and the idea of different kinds of peoples coming together to cooperate with each other’s best interests in mind, as opposed to exploit and kill everyone else like humankind has done over and over again.
One worldwide people with a common idea of sharing Earth and keeping each other alive. In my mind, this starts here in Europe – we’re the guinea pigs it gets tested on. It’s clearly not always easy to follow through on this huge political vision, but in my opinion nothing worth having comes easily.
Just like with running a marathon, you have to put in a lot of work until great things happen. But apart from this point of raising awareness I didn’t do it to achieve some world records or anything, it’s also just that I like to travel and get to know new places.
Throughout these years I’ve met many great people through this website. So if you’re thinking about talking to me, feel free to send me an email!